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Manhattan attorney Dudley Gaffin is claiming King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia might want to buy shuttered St. Vincent's Medical Center and transfer the proposed Ground Zero mosque to a new Islamic cultural center he would build on a plot at the site, say sources who have heard Gaffin's pitch, according to an article today by Brad Hamilton and Joseph Goldstein in The New York Post.

"The king, worth more than $20 billion, would also save the hospital, reopening most of the units that closed when St. Vincent's filed for bankruptcy on April 14, the sources said.

They say that Gaffin, who heads his own firm in lower Manhattan, is floating the idea to gauge what the reaction might be - and to ready a bid to rival the Rudin Organization, which is trying to snap up St. Vincent's in bankruptcy court with an eye on tearing down six hospital buildings for luxury housing," the article said.

"Gaffin said the mosque and cultural center," the article continued, "would likely be built in a space now occupied by a shuttered nursing facility on 12th Street, just east of Seventh Avenue. Sources said Gaffin claimed to have broached the topic with Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, but reps for both denied it. 'No one here has heard of this,' said Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna."

The article said that sources said that "Gaffin sought legal advice on the matter from former council member Herb Berman and revealed the plan to the Coalition for a New Village Hospital, a group of doctors and nurses trying to resurrect St. Vincent's."

"Reps for Abdullah, one of the world's wealthiest men, did not return calls seeking comment. The 87-year-old king is currently in town after recuperating from back surgery he had at New York-Presbyterian hospital on Dec. 3. Abdullah previously said he would not get involved with the Ground Zero mosque," the article said, adding that "Gaffin, a trial lawyer and senior partner in Gaffin & Mayo, did not respond to requests for comment."
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.